The calendar 2021 will go down as a not-so-pleasant year, even forgettable for many organizations in the US. Beginning April 2021, the great democracy saw the beginning of what they call ‘The Great Resignation’. The country has seen a tidal wave of resignations- around 20 million US workers quitting since April 2021 (Source: US Bureau of Labour Statistics), and the exodus grows. The phenomenon of resignation has stayed unusually high since then. There are 14 million open jobs for a US workforce of 160 million. This means skilled talent has ample opportunities to hop on to the next workplace. But even the workers without a job in sight are quitting. That’s what makes The Great Resignation a visceral challenge.
The pandemic has turned almost every sector on its head. And has shown its ripple effect on the US job market. Technology and healthcare sectors have been the worst victims of a never seen attrition rate. Why are companies finding it hard to navigate the challenge of employee retention? I feel the focus for many organizations is on offering transactional benefits. But when a pandemic has changed the paradigm of work, a fat pay or alluring perks won’t be enough to attract and retain your best talent. Our workplaces have seen seismic shifts after the outbreak of the pandemic. People opt for flex workspaces and don’t wish to sit glued to their desks for a 9 to 5 position. This trend is resoundingly true for the US workforce. An overwhelming majority of the knowledge workers there prefer a remote working role. This trend has fuelled The Great Resignation.
The en masse resignation of workers is a trend primarily confined to the US and a few European countries. But organizations need to diagnose the real causes of workers leaving in droves before this crisis spreads beyond borders. Burnout is the critical cause that most employers need to actively address. More than pay, the workers feel exalted when valued by the managers and the organization. The solution, to my mind, clearly lies in investing in a more fulfilling employee experience to meet the new expectations of autonomy and flexibility at the workplace. Employees want meaningful social interactions. They crave for a sense of shared identity. Creating an immersive employee experience can tick all boxes. To add, organizations can take a data-driven approach to figure out why people quit and ways to improve retention rates. In creating a digital-first, post-pandemic organization, we should not forgo the human touch. Let’s raise the bar on employee experience. That’s the secret sauce of stemming the insane attrition rate. Possibly, the recipe too, to morph ‘The Great Resignation’ into ‘The Great Attraction’.
(The author is Founder & CEO, CSM Technologies Ltd. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)